HC Deb 06 May 1842 vol 63 cc207-9
Mr. Henry Baring

moved That Mr. Speaker do issue his Warrant to the Clerk of the Crown, to make out a new Writ for the electing of two Burgesses to serve in this present Parliament for the Town and County of the Town of Southampton, in the room of Lord Bruce, now Earl of Elgin, and Charles Cecil Martyn, esquire, whose Elections have been determined to be void."

Mr. Ward

thought, after the report which had that evening been made at the bar, making very grave allegations not only against the agents of the late Members, but against a large portion of the constituency, affirming that many had been guilty of receiving bribes, and that a system of treating was found to prevail very extensively in the borough—that the House was bound not to take any further step upon the motion of the hon. Member (Mr. H. Baring) until the minutes of the evidence taken before the committee had been printed and placed before the House. When it was recollected that the House had been appealed to upon three several occasions, in reference to the proceedings growing out of the last election for this borough—when it was remembered, too, that the conduct of one of the Members of the House had been implicated in the course of the inquiry, he thought that the House had a right to claim full information of all that had passed before the committee, before it consented to take any further step. If there were any doubt upon the points to which he had referred, he would move (as there were only a very few Members in the House when the report from the Southampton Election Committee was made), that the report be read again at the Table, and he would subsequently move that the motion now before the House be adjourned until the evidence should be printed and laid before the House.

Mr. H. Baring

stated, that he should not have the slightest objection to accede at once to the hon. Gentleman's amendment. He begged it to be understood that in moving for the writ on that occasion, he had been actuated by no wish or intention to take the House by surprise. He had apprised the Chairman of the committee (Mr. Redington) of his intention to move the writ, and that hon. Gentleman assured him that he had no objection to such a motion being made. He understood, also, that a motion which had been brought forward in the committee for suspending the writ had been withdrawn, and that there was no objection on the part of any of the Members of the committee to the issuing of the writ. He felt, therefore, that he had been quite justified in making the motion; but at the same time, he had no wish to press it against the wish or feeling of any Member of the House.

Mr. H. Hinde

begged to second the motion of the hon. Member for Sheffield, that the report of the committee be read again, because he was quite sure, that the hon. Member would then perceive that there was no charge of general bribery against the borough of Southampton.

Mr. Ward

had not said, that there was. The report specified nine cases only of bribery actually carried home to the parties; but it stated that a very extensive system of bribery and treating was carried on by means of local associations. But the best way of settling the point was to have the report read again.

The report of the committee read by the clerk.

Mr. W. O. Stanley

begged to offer a single remark. The hon. Member for Marlborough (Mr. H. Baring), had stated that there had been some discussion in the committee as to the suspension of the writ. There was no such discussion. He made a motion to suspend the writ until the evidence had been laid before the House, but, finding that he was not supported, he withdrew it.

Mr. Williams Wynn

gained his legs with great difficulty. Whilst he was rising,

Mr. Bernal

spoke to order, and expressed a hope that the right hon. Gentleman might be allowed to speak sitting.

Mr. Williams Wynn

thanked the hon. Gentleman very heartily. If he were unable to stand, he should be most sensible of the indulgence of the House, which would permit him to speak sitting; but whilst he had the power to get upon his legs, he thought it better that he should conform himself to the ordinary practice of the House. With respect to the question before the House, he should have no hesitation in saying, that after such a report as had been made from the committee, he did not think it expedient that a motion should be made immediately for issuing a new writ. At the same time, whatever opinion he might, upon the first flush of the case, be disposed to form as to the suspension of the writ till after the evidence taken before the committee had been laid before the House; yet, as there was no recommendation to that effect in the report, he should be sorry to see the House adopt the proposal of the hon. Member for Sheffield without notice. He would, therefore, suggest to that hon. Gentleman the expediency of adjourning the debate rather than pressing his amendment.

Mr. Ward

had no objection to adopt the right hon. Gentleman's suggestion. He would withdraw his amendment, and move that the debate on the question for issuing the writ be adjourned till Monday next.

Mr. H. Baring

thought that perhaps the better way would be to withdraw the motion altogether, which, with the permission of the House, he would do.

Motion withdrawn.